By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

- Page 2

  • I never noticed that before...

    A comment I often find myself making when I work with a passage or diea for a sermon.

    Today I've been working with Luke 15 and 16 ahead of Sunday's service, and, having been reminded of Luke's theme of the ptokoj (the poor), have been trying to read the parables in that light.  As I neared the last sentence of my draft sermon, I recalled the verse "the poor will always be with you" and tried to recall where it came from.  Three of the gospels have it; Luke is not one of them.  Hmmm.

    OK, so everyone else already knew that, but I hadn't spotted it until now.

  • Dangerous Reporting

    Usually I quite like the BUGB e-news sweep, it is often useful and sometimes funny.  Today it made me swear.  Now you have to appreciate I don't often do swearing, it's not in my make-up!  So why did it make me swear?  Because it linked a Daily Mail article with these words:

    Miracle? Cancer-stricken father defies odds and beats disease by stopping chemo - because God told him to

    With a ten per cent chance of survival, he needed a miracle - and that's exactly what God gave him

    Now I am delighted for the man (in the US by the way) that his cancer has been healed, and I am prepared to accept that for some reason God chose to heal him, but for goodness sake let's be a bit responsible here.  How many Christians (or other people of faith) don't get 'healed' of their cancer (most) how many suffer excruciatingly until they die of secondaries (many) and how many live with the pressure of OPE that God will supernaturally heal them (more than a few).  For crying out loud, God gave us the skills of oncology and surgery and radiotherapy for a reason.

    So listen up folks (I'm quite wound up, you can tell!) God has given me more through having cancer and being treated for it than any miracle healing would ever have done.  I've met amazing people, I've learned a lot about cancer, about myself, about others, about life, about faith.  I'd like to think, though physcially scarred, and with a 30% chance of still being here in a decade, that I am a more whole person now.

    So please, do not throw away your chemo, your radiotherapy, your hormone therapy, your screening appointment card.

    Today a friend of the Gathering Place is laid to rest after cancer claimed her life... she has ultimate healing as she enters eternal rest.

    If praying is your thing, please pray for those whose work is caring for people with cancer or researching into into its causes and treatments

    And if you want a miracle, then please pray for Annie who is 27, has aggressive stage 4 b.c. and exploring every option she can as she chooses life in its fulness (however long or short that may be).  Chemo and prayer - now that seems a much better mix to me.

    BUGB e-news sweep I forgive you... even 70 x 7...

    Rant Ends!

  • Funny Old Week

    It has been a fiunny old week - why weeks become 'old' in this context I don't quite know, but there you go.  It has been one of those 'the whole of life is here' weeks, one in which the interruptions are the ministry and the sermon/service prep is incidental (it's Thursday and I know what I want to speak about, just haven't got anything on paper yet).

    It has been a ministry of...

    drinking tea and coffee, eating lunch, sending and receiving emails on diverse and sometimes complex pastoral and pracitcal matters, answering the phone, sorting through cupboards, finding craft activities, reading, dancing with joy, wondering 'why?', standing alongside those who weep, thinking 'should I?', laughing, sharing...

    Yup, a funny old week, but one that serves to remind me why this is what I am, who I am, maybe even why I am.

    Now I need to start playing catch-up!!

  • John Stott RIP

    Back in the early 1980s I was one of the countless students of London University who worshipped at All Souls, Langham Place (I went there in the evenings; in the morning I went to Westbourne Park Baptist Church when it was small and traditional).  There I would often listen, rapt, to the measured tones of John Stott, one of the greatest expositors of our time.  I recall little of what he said (it was 30 years ago give or take) but I do remember there was one sermon about the God who has come, who is coming and who will come, which I found fascintating and my friends found bewildering... maybe I should have read the signs even then?!  Like many people of my age, my bookcase has a few John Stott works on it and, even though maybe I don't always agree with him, his writing is that of a thoughtful and spiritual man.

    News has come through today that he has died.  That he now knows the fulfilment of the promises he preached so faithfully, I am sure.  That he will be missed, I am certain.

    As it happens, a book I am scheduled to begin reading includes a chapter by this gentle giant, so there will be a little poignancy in the reading thereof (even if, I suspect, I will take issue with some of what he wrote).

    He lived a long and fulfilling life, and I am sure blessed countless people along the way.  Now may he rest in peace.

     All Souls announcement and tribute can be found here

  • I am the one in ten

    Over the last year, I have learned what it means to be a 'statistic'... I am the 'one in three' of the UK population, the 'one in eight' (reduced from 'one in nine' at the time) of UK women, the 'one in ten' at the breast clinic, the 'one in five' who is under fifty, blah de blah de blah.  And I am me!  Yesterday a friend emailed to say that she was one of the 'nine in ten' at the breast clinic (hurrah, hurrah, hurrah, no one cheers more than those 'in' these perverse clubs when others don't have to join us) but she was keenly aware that as she rejoiced someone else would be grieving.  It's a complex old world where joy and sorrow, hope and fear, life and death, this and that, are always intertwined.

    Another friend sent me this link which is about financial support for people living with disability or chronic conditions; you make like to take up the challenge of sending the link to your conservative MP, if appropriate.  It is elegantly and sensitively written.  I am under no illusions that the government of the UK (and the devolved bits for 3 of 4 countries) have a very hard task balancing the books and working out where to target the money, but it is good to be reminded that behind every statistic there is a person...

    I am the one in ten
    A number on a list
    I am the one in ten
    Even though I don`t exist
    Nobody Knows me
    But I`m always there
    A statistical reminder
    Of a world that doesn`t care

    My arms enfold the dole queue
    Malnutrition dulls my hair
    My eyes are black and lifeless
    With an underprivileged stare
    I`m the beggar on the corner
    Will no-one spare a dime?
    I`m the child that never learns to read
    `Cause no-one spared the time

    I am the one in ten .... etc

    I`m the murderer and the victim
    The licence with the gun
    I`m a sad and bruised old lady
    In an ally in a slum
    I`m a middle aged businessman
    With chronic heart disease
    I`m another teenaged suicide
    In a street that has no trees

    I am the one in ten .... etc

    I`m a starving third world mother
    A refugee without a home
    I`m a house wife hooked on Valium
    I`m a Pensioner alone
    I`m a cancer ridden spectre
    Discovering the earth
    I`m another hungry baby
    I`m an accident of birth.

    I am the one in ten .... etc